Mike Grier becomes first Black GM in NHL history with Sharks

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Mike Grier has been hired as the new general manager of the San Jose Sharks.

With the hire, Grier becomes the first Black man to hold a GM position in NHL history. Brett Peterson became the league’s first Black assistant GM when the Florida Panthers hired him in Nov. 2020.

The 47-year-old Grier played 1,060 games with four NHL teams over his 14-year career, including three seasons with the Sharks. After retiring, he worked for several teams in different capacities including the New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Rangers. He spent the 2021-22 NHL season as the Rangers’ hockey operations advisor.

“I am extremely proud and grateful to be given the opportunity to be the general manager of the San Jose Sharks,” said Grier. “Along with my staff, I look forward to the challenge of building a fast, competitive, and hardworking team that Sharks fans will enjoy watching and be proud of. One of the things I remember most about playing in San Jose is the home ice advantage that our fans bring through their passion and energy, making SAP Center one of the most difficult buildings to play in.”

Grier’s older brother, Chris, has been the general manager of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins since 2016.

Grier takes over the GM role from Sharks assistant GM Joe Will, who had been serving on an interim basis since November after Doug Wilson stepped away for medical reasons. In April, Wilson announced he would be leaving the organization after 19 seasons.

In preparation for naming a new GM, the Sharks fired head coach Bob Boughner on Friday. Grier’s first big move will be finding a replacement behind the bench and Will said the new boss will “have full autonomy” over the coaching search.

The job ahead

After a four-year period where the Sharks made the Stanley Cup Final and two Western Conference Finals, the franchise has not made the postseason since 2019. The top players are on the older side with some youth coming through, but lots more work is to be done. Grier takes over a roster with eight players 28 or older who own some form of a trade protection in their contract. Five of those players also possess the highest salary cap hits on the team.

According to Cap Friendly, the Sharks enter the summer with a little more than $5 million in salary cap space and a number of restricted free agents to consider, including Mario Ferraro, who was third on the team averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

As far as stockpiling prospects, the Sharks enter this week’s NHL Draft in Montreal with nine picks, six of which will come in the final three rounds.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Mike Grier becomes first Black GM in NHL history with Sharks originally appeared on NBCSports.com